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Design for How People Think by John Whalen

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[ Preface ]

Why I Wrote This Book

“A Psychologist Doing Product and Service Design? How Interesting…”

A common response when I introduce myself as a psychologist who does product design is surprise: “Isn’t that the job of designers? Oh, you must really get into the customer’s head! Are you analyzing me right now?” [No comment! ;)]

While often intrigued, these people don’t know how knowledge about human cognition and emotion can be applied in digital product and service design. They are not alone. After giving a talk at SXSW, I had more than one person say, “That is so cool! I wish I knew how to use that in my products…”

So Do You Want the Secret to Designing a Great Experience?

Start by thinking of a truly great experience in your life. Was it one of life’s milestones? The birth of a child, marriage, graduation, etc.? Or was it a specific moment in time—a concert with your favorite band, a play on Broadway, an immersive dance club, an amazing sunset by the ocean, or watching your favorite movie?

You might remark that it was “brilliant” or “an amazing experience” to a friend.

What you probably didn’t think about was how many different senses and cognitive processes blended together to make that experience for you. Can you almost smell the popcorn when you think of that movie? Maybe the play had not only great acting but creative costumes and lighting and starred someone you thought was good-looking and moved with amazing grace. Was it the dancing with festive fans nearby? So many ...

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